499 President Street Begins Vertical Ascent in Gowanus, Brooklyn

499 President Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Rendering courtesy of SLCE Architects

Construction is rising on 499 President Street, an eight-story residential building in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Designed by SLCE Architects and developed by The Brodsky Organization and Avery Hall Investments, the 322,000-square-foot structure will yield 350 rental units in studio to two-bedrooms layouts, with 25 percent designated for affordable housing, as well as 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Urban Atelier Group is the general contractor for the 1.6-acre property, which is bound by Union Street to the north, President Street to the south, and Nevins Street to the west.

Significant progress has occurred since our last update in May, when excavation had yet to begin. Photos from late last week show the reinforced concrete superstructure already built up to the third story on the westernmost portion of the site.

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Work on the rest of the site is further behind. The ground-floor slab is largely formed around the central section, and the final stages of excavation are wrapping up on the eastern end of the land. Steel rebar protrudes across the property in preparation for the formation of subsequent portions of the superstructure.

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

The main rendering of 499 President Street depicts an industrial-inspired design with a light-colored stone envelope and long uniform bands of floor-to-ceiling windows wrapping around the structure. King Contracting Group will be in charge of installing the CMU and stone façade, which features some ornamental touches like horizontally pleated panels between the warehouse-style windows. Stepped setbacks on the upper levels are shown topped with landscaped terraces, and new tree-lined sidewalks will adorn the ground-floor commercial frontage and main entrance.

Residential amenities will include a lounge with coworking spaces, a private dining room, a game room, a gymnasium and yoga studio, an outdoor rooftop deck, and a swimming pool. The nearest subway is the R train at the Union Street station to the east along 4th Avenue.

YIMBY last reported that construction will take approximately two years to complete. 499 President Street’s anticipated completion date is slated for February 2025, as noted on site.

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10 Comments on "499 President Street Begins Vertical Ascent in Gowanus, Brooklyn"

  1. David : Sent From Heaven. | September 19, 2023 at 9:43 am | Reply

    Built up to the third story that’s rising and depicted with portion on the site, I think an industrial-inspired design is fine for light-colored stone. Also warehouse-style windows are beautiful on the ground: Thanks to Michael Young.

  2. Cassandra Mcilwain | September 19, 2023 at 10:33 am | Reply

    Application please

  3. David in Bushwick | September 19, 2023 at 12:16 pm | Reply

    Hit or miss SLCE has a hit.

  4. Notice cars in the rendering, is there parking ?

  5. Looks like a warehouse, which is fantastic.

  6. 25% affordable for the high middle income earners/close to market rate, this is how they transform Gowanus, by not making it truly affordable, by the time they start building truly affordable housing for the low income, moderate, and seniors, majority will already be gone from Brooklyn, let alone out of NYC

    • The Gowanus Canal Was Designated a “Superfund Site”
      For over a century, the banks of the Gowanus Canal were line with industry and manufacturing companies, which released their toxic waste into the canal water as well into the ground. In 2010, the federal government identified the Gowanus Canal as one of the most toxic waterways in the entire country. It’s filled with toxins that pose serious public health risks. As a result, it was designated a “Superfund” site, and in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency began a $1.5 billion cleanup of the canal.

      The Land

      The Gowanus Neighborhood Has Been Rezoned
      In 2021, 82 blocks in Gowanus were changed from mainly industrial use to allowing residential development. The existing industrial buildings being demolished in the neighborhood will soon be replaced by dozens of apartment towers reaching up to 30 stories tall.

      Most of the Rezoned Land is Highly Toxic
      The vast majority of development sites in Gowanus (see map, below) are filled with cancer-causing toxins due to a century of industrial use, and have been classified by NY State as “Brownfield sites.” Some have toxins as deep as 150 feet.

      The Infrastructure

      Sewage Frequently Flows Into the Canal
      During heavy rains, raw sewage flows into the canal because it exceeds the current sewer system’s capacity. As a result, the EPA has demanded that the City build two enormous “retention” tanks to keep excess sewage from going into the canal.

      What’s The Problem?
      The Land is Not Being Cleaned Up Fully, Leaving Toxins in the Soil
      All of these sites need to be cleaned up before residential buildings can be built. State law requires they be cleaned to “pre-disposal conditions”—as they were before industrial poisoning. However, this is NOT happening. For instance, at some sites, where toxins reach as deep as 150 feet, the State is only calling for developers to clean less than the top 8 feet of contaminated soil.

      Toxins Left in the Soil Can Enter Buildings And Threaten Future Residents’ Health
      The State itself acknowledges that when certain toxins (“volatile organic compounds” or VOCs) are left in the soil, they can “move into buildings and affect the indoor air quality.”

      Rather than remove them entirely, the State has decided that on the development sites, these toxins will be covered, or “capped,” with a slab of concrete. This method of dealing with toxic land, known as creating a “vapor intrusion barrier,” is very risky, and is so unreliable that these sites must be monitored every year, in perpetuity, to ensure that dangerous vapors haven’t penetrated people’s residences.

      The Most Deeply-Affordable Housing Is Planned for the Most Seriously Toxic Site
      Some of the worst contamination can be found at “Public Place,” a City-owned plot at the corner of Smith and Fifth Streets which for decades housed a manufactured gas plant that created waste known as “coal tar.” Exposure to coal tar has been linked to a variety of cancers. Coal tar at this site has been found to a depth of 150 feet.

      The cleanup proposed for this site is woefully inadequate, and only the top 8 feet of soil will be cleaned. It is also the only site in the entire rezone where 100% of the 950 apartments target lower incomes, including units for unhoused individuals and seniors. A school has also been proposed for this site.

      Placing the lowest-income residents in danger in this way raises Environmental Justice concerns.

      Toxins Are Not Confined To Their Original Sites and Threaten the Health of Existing and Future Residents
      Large “plumes” of migrating carcinogenic coal tar have already been found far from their original site in Gowanus, and with flooding and rising groundwater levels from climate change, these and other carcinogens can wind up underneath existing homes and intrude into them.

      Fumes from the Toxic Construction Sites Pose a Danger to the Community
      The disturbance of the land at these toxic construction sites has caused air monitors to be set off by toxic fumes reaching dangerously high levels, with the community not notified and only discovered after kids in the neighboring playground smelled it and reported it to our electeds.

      The Gowanus Canal will be Re-Contaminated With Toxins
      Without a full cleanup, toxins from the sites surrounding the canal will seep right back into the canal and re-contaminate it, thereby not only wasting $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars, but also returning the canal to its dangerously toxic state.

      Sewage Retention Tanks Are Not Being Built, and Sewage will continue to flow into the canal—and into our homes
      The City is not following the EPA’s timeline to build the required retention tanks, and at this point says that they won’t be complete until after 2030. And the retention tanks are only meant to deal with the current number of residents in the community; they don’t take into account the additional sewage that will be produced by 20,000 planned future residents.

      • It’s a dam shame, toxic chemicals plus profit over people health, this mayor is increasingly looking forward to a maybe one term

  7. I love Brooklyn because it is safe. This apartment is wonderful! You can get anywhere by bus, subway or train. You save money as a result. Brooklyn is comfortable, homey, and convenient! Brooklyn is the best of the boroughs in New York! There is everything in Brooklyn from supermarkets, to shopping in many clothing stores in various places within walking distance. There is lots to do in Brooklyn from movies, Barkley Sports Arena,restaurants, many cultural events and many places of worship! Brooklyn is home to me!

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